Crash Course: Dermal Piercings and Jewelry OverviewBy
When we say “dermal,” we’re making a reference to a class of piercings that appear to have a single entry point in the skin, rather than both an entry and an exit point like a traditional piercing. For organizational purposes, there are four main types of dermal piercing: the sub-dermal, the trans-dermal, the microdermal, and what’s called a skin diver.
Sub-dermal piercings can be considered less of a piercing, and more like an implant, and thus are often referred to as sub-dermal implants instead. This is when a piece of jewelry is implanted underneath the skin so as to leave the impression of its shape. Some common sub-dermal implants include those in the shape of horns, stars, hearts, and loops or “doughnut” shapes.
When a sub-dermal is completed, there will be no visible entry or exit points as with a piercing, just the shape given to the skin by the underlying jewelry. These are generally implanted surgically through a single incision which is then healed shut.
Trans-dermal piercings are also considered a type of implant, and are implanted through a two-prong process. These require both an incision and a punched or pierced hole. The hole will be made using a hollow needle or dermal punch, and then a few inches away an incision will be made too. The jewelry is then inserted under the skin via the incision, and moved so that its free end protrudes through the piercing. This allows for less noticeable scarring around the piercing itself, as the healed incision is not in the same area as the visible portion of the jewelry.
Trans-dermal and microdermal jewelry both consist of two parts: a base (which remains underneath the skin), and a topper (the part that can be seen above the skin.) The big difference is that microdermal bases, also called “anchors,” are implanted solely through a single hole pierced or punched in the skin, and don’t require a separate incision of any kind.
For this reason, microdermal bases will often be smaller than those used to anchor a trans-dermal implant, and will heal a little quicker and leave no significant scarring. The single entry point of a microdermal is usually made using a device called a dermal punch that utilizes a very sharp circular razor to pierce a hole through the skin, but it has also been made with relative success using standard hollow piercing needles.
Finally, the skin diver is much like a microdermal, except that instead having a separate base and top to the jewelry, the skin diver item is a single piece in the shape of a hand weight. One large end sits underneath the skin, and the other sits atop. For this reason skin divers are far easier to pull or yank out of their piercing than items with a wider base and separate top, but this ease of removal is the very reason many choose them.
Because the jewelry is a single piece however, and is meant to remain until the piercing itself is no longer desired, the ability to change out for a different color or shape doesn’t exist. With two piece jewelry like that used for trans-dermal or microdermal piercings, changing style is as easy as twisting off the topper, and twisting on a new one.